“It’s Pretty Essential”: A Critical Race Counter-Narrative of Faculty of Color Understandings of Diversity and Equity in Doctoral Admissions

  • Dian D. SquireEmail author


Using a short story fiction counter-narrative, this critical race study examines how faculty of color within higher education and student affairs doctoral-granting programs bring critical epistemologies to their decision-making in the student admissions process and work to decolonize the academy despite neoliberal pressures. Faculty of color depart from current accounts of faculty decision-making in doctoral education in two key ways—by disregarding standardized measures of success and by considering diversity throughout the entire admissions process—leading us to important insights about how faculty of color differ from white faculty in their perception of and in their emphasis on diversity, equity, and justice in the admissions process. The implications are both broad and specific for creating dynamically diverse campus climates in an era of persistent challenges to affirmative action. The findings speak to the ways that those concerned with educational diversity and equity can support diversity and equity efforts in a neoliberal, color-blind environment. In a world defined by such policy and practice and a country that determines options and opportunity based on race, this study centers the voices of faculty of color in their institutions and analyzes how identity and institutional logics influence behavior.


Graduate education Admissions Critical race theory Faculty of color Diversity Equity 



I would like to thank Kate Gallagher for all her support and insight in reviewing a prior version of this manuscript. I would also like to thank the University of Denver Interdisciplinary Research Incubator for the Study of (in)Equality (IRISE) for their support.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA

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